I spent the past week volunteering at our church’s Vacation Bible School program. I’m pretty sure I will have the songs from our “Gangway to Galilee” theme stuck in my head for a long time – especially since they sent us home with a DVD/CD and songbook of all the music we learned!
The thing about moving is that if you ever want to feel settled and make new friends it seems like you’re constantly having to put yourself out there. After awhile, at least for me, you start to feel like you’re permanently outside your comfort zone. A week ago, I was seriously questioning why I volunteered to help at VBS. After all I didn’t really know anybody at church and it was going to completely throw off Tristan’s bedtime routine for an entire week (any parent of a toddler knows that could make the whole week difficult). I was feeling downright negative and anxious about the entire commitment.
Now, on the other side of VBS week, I couldn’t be more happy that I honored my commitment and helped out. Not only was I able to develop some friendships with both adults and kids, I had the pleasure of witnessing Tristan’s joy as he experienced the magic of VBS for himself!
That boy was the youngest kid there, but had all the adults and big kids wrapped around his finger.
There’s no question that he’s a Hanley; he was the life of the party. The first night was a little bit difficult (on him and me) as he had a hard time sitting through the introduction and Bible lesson. Luckily, he warmed up quickly and by the last night had everyone cracking up with his sheer excitement at seeing Rusty the Cat (the puppet) and dancing and singing to the music.
The week held some really positive moments for me as well. I was especially flattered after teaching the Preschool lesson on Friday that one little boy wanted me to keep playing with him after the other kids moved on to crafts and games. We pretended to be the disciples out fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, he couldn’t believe that I “worked” there. It felt really great to make such a great connection with another child.
I also felt a huge difference at church this morning. Volunteering at VBS this past week gave me a sense of ownership over my church community and I felt a whole new sense of connection and communion with the folks I worship with every week. I even feel like I made a couple friends (one who doesn’t even attend our church) and that’s always a victory to be celebrated when you’re still new in town. It even gave me the confidence to start pursuing some other things I’ve put on hold while waiting to feel settled.
Another great moment from the last week was when Tristan recited (unprompted and completely on his own) one of the memory verses we learned:
I have called you by name and you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
How cool that he now has a little bit more of God’s Word stored in his heart!
Of course nothing could beat roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores with my son!